UK sports bodies continue to invest broadcast revenues into grassroots sport under Voluntary Code

Voluntary Code sports broadcasting ()

UK sports bodies reconfirmed their commitment to growing their sport and supporting grassroots delivery by investing £158.6m over the last year.

The commitment forms part of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events, which is administered and supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance. The Code requires signatories to put a minimum of 30% of net broadcasting revenues back into their respective sports and to make their events available to free-to-air broadcasters in live, recorded or highlights format so they can be viewed by as many people as possible.

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the ongoing cost of living pressures, has placed significant strains on the finances of national sports bodies and their affiliated community clubs and groups. This reinvestment of broadcast revenues generated at the top of sport represents a profound commitment by signatories to the Code to encouraging and facilitating sport and physical activity opportunities at grassroots level, despite the challenges faced by signatories themselves.

The Football Association, the Rugby Football League, the Rugby Football Union, The R&A and the Lawn Tennis Association (jointly with the All England Lawn Tennis Club on behalf of The Championships, Wimbledon) were assessed as compliant with both requirements of the Code. The England and Wales Cricket Board’s level of reinvestment was below the 30% level and it was therefore assessed as compliant with the accessibility principle only. However, the Committee noted that, despite the ECB’s record level of reinvestment, it was lower than expected due to continued COVID-19 restrictions, and delays to capital projects and the rollout of an insurance scheme. The ECB has committed to returning to the 30% reinvestment threshold going forwards.

Bodies who are signatories to the accessibility principle only, and were compliant in this regard, were the European Tour, the Premier League and UK Athletics.

Commenting on the year’s review of Code compliance, Chair Jon Zeff said:

“Despite the ongoing challenges faced by major sporting bodies, it was extremely pleasing to see the sustained commitment by signatories of the Code to the reinvestment of broadcast revenues into the long-term development of their sport. This investment is crucial for enabling grassroots clubs and organisations to increase participation and the delivering the associated health and wellbeing benefits.

“Ensuring that, wherever possible, the biggest sporting events are available free-to-air, allows these events to be enjoyed by everybody.”